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Kevin De Bruyne: first amongst equals?

For some people, Kevin De Bruyne is the best player in the world. But is he the best Kevin in the world? Jon Mackenzie gives you a team of the best Kevins.


In 2014, Kevin De Bruyne had been let go by Chelsea and was making his way across the continent to compete in the Bundesliga. Fast-forward to 2017 and the red-headed Belgian is making a case to be the Premier League Player of the Year. 

On this season’s form, there is a case to be made that Manchester City’s maestro is the best midfielder in world football. 

But who are the best Kevin’s across the football pitch? Jon Mackenzie offers a full XI of Kevins.

 GK – Kevin Trapp, Paris Saint-Germain

Kevin Trapp started out life in the German football leagues, coming through the youth system at 1. FC Kaiserslautern. After being promoted to the first team, Trapp only played one season before making the switch to Eintracht Frankfurt. 

His performances for Die Adler over three seasons brought him onto the radar of Paris Saint-Germain who signed him in 2015. He has remained there ever since, rapidly becoming their first-choice Number 1 before making 59 appearances.

CB – Kevin Großkreutz, Darmstadt 98

The Darmstadt 98 right back first came into prominence in Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team that won two Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012. 

His appearances for BVB were good enough to get him called up to the German national team in 2010 and, despite only getting five caps, he made the national squad for the 2014 World Cup. 

After his time at Dortmund, Großkreutz had a stint in Turkey with Galatasaray before returning to Germany last season with Stuttgart where he was a regular during their promotion season.

CB – Kevin Wimmer, Stoke City

Kevin Wimmer is another player to make a name for himself in the Bundesliga. Despite being Austrian-born and starting his career in his homeland, Wimmer was swiftly signed by 1. FC Koln where he played for a number of years before being signed by Premier League club Tottenham. 

Whilst there, though, the centre back could never break into the starting XI and, over the last summer transfer window, he moved to Stoke City in a bid to get more game time. Wimmer has also been capped eight times by Austria since he made his debut in 2013.

CB – Kevin Rodrigues, Real Sociedad

Where previous Kevins have been of Germanic extraction, Kevin Rodrigues was born in France where he began his professional career with Toulouse. 

After a short period at Dijon, he moved to Real Sociedad in 2015 where he played regularly for their B team before breaking into the first XI at the beginning of this season. Capped for France at youth level, expect to see more of Rodrigues in the future. 

RW – Kevin Kampl, RB Leipzig

Born in Germany, Kevin Kampl has 25 international caps for Slovenia who he has represented since 2012. Coming through the lower leagues of German football, Kampl is also a graduate of the Red Bull franchise at Salzburg – no doubt a factor in his more recent transfer from Bayer Leverkusen to RB Leipzig.

Despite being a central midfielder by trade, the 27-year-old has been retrained as a winger in recent years and often appears on the right for his new club.

CM – Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City

Born in Belgium and making a name for himself at Genk – along with players of the quality of Thibaut Courtois, Yannick Carrasco, Christian Benteke and Stephen Defour – Kevin De Bruyne was quickly picked up by Chelsea in 2012. 

Famously, though, he struggled to break into Jose Mourinho’s team and so, in early 2014, he joined VfL Wolfsburg in Germany. By the end of his first full season, De Bruyne had won the Bundesliga’s Player of the Year award and was quickly snaffled by Manchester City. 

De Bruyne has played all over the middle of the field in his time but is now being utilised by Pep Guardiola as part of a double pivot with David Silva where both are encouraged to find wide places. He also has 53 caps for the Belgian national team.

CDM – Kevin Vogt, Hoffenheim

Kevin Vogt is used by his manager Julian Nagelsmann as a utility play, operating anywhere from central defence up into the central midfield area. Despite his height, Vogt is a remarkably quick player and has recorded speeds in the Bundesliga that put him in the top 10 fastest players in the league – a fact Mohamed Salah will be aware of since coming up against him in Champions League qualifying earlier in the year. 

Vogt is a Bundesliga stalwart, having played for a number of teams in the league although his first club Bochum did drop down into 2. Bundesliga when he was there. Despite being capped at youth level for Germany, he never managed to break into the full team.

CM – Kevin Strootman, Roma

The only Dutchman to make the side, Kevin Strootman currently plies his trade in Serie A. With the majority of his career being played in the Eredivisie, Strootman’s sole trophy to date is a KNVB Cup won in 2011/12 whilst at PSV.

Capped 36 times for the Netherlands, the latter parts of Strootman’s career haven’t been quite so promising as the first. Last season, though, he managed to break back into the Roma side, having been out of form for two years previously.  

LW- Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Tottenham

Once pictured wearing a Chelsea kit, Tottenham’s Georges-Kevin Nkoudou took a well-advised loan spell at Marseilles last season where he impressed, scoring 5 goals in 28 matches for the French club. 

Since returning, he has only made a handful of appearances for the North London side and will be hoping that his good form last season won’t have gone unnoticed. With caps at almost every level of France’s youth set up, expect to see more of this left winger in the future.

CF – Kevin Gameiro, Atletico Madrid

Following in the shadow of such luminaries as Fernando Torres and Sergio Aguero, Atletico Madrid’s Kevin Gameiro is French-born spending much of his career to date in Ligue 1. Making his mark at Lorient, Gameiro earned a promotion to Paris Saint-Germain in 2011 where he scored 19 goals in 59 appearances.

Picked up by Sevilla two years later, the striker continued his prolific form which was impressive enough to see him signed by Atletico just before the 2016/17 season. Since then, though, he has struggled to make his place on a team that utilises a high-tempo pressing game. Gameiro has also been capped 13 times for France.

CF – Kevin Volland, Bayer Leverkusen

Starting out life in the now-fourth-tier 1860 Munich, Kevin Volland has spent his whole career to date playing in the German football league. The bulk of this career took place at Hoffenheim – the club bankrolled by Dietmar Hopp, IT magnate and owner of SAP. 

In 2016, Volland made the switch to Bayer Leverkusen where he has become something of a squad rotation player. Often played out on the left, the German is also utilised as a secondary striker, having scored 75 goals across a 245 game career. He has also received 10 caps for Die Mannschaft.

Have we missed anyone from our team of Kevins? Let us know in the comments below



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Jon Mackenzie

Jon Mackenzie is the Football Editor at RealSport.

Regularly appearing on talkSPORT radio, his work has also featured in The Economist, The Blizzard, The Square Ball and on the Futbolgrad Network.

Jon also founded A Team of John O'Sheas podcast and hosts it every week.

Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Mackenzie

 

  • Jim Smith

    It was Clinton Njie not Nkouduo who was at Marseille on loan last year. Nkoudou only joined Tottenham last season.

Kevin De Bruyne: first amongst equals?

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